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I Do. I Do.
By Alien #7005634

The nuptials had to be even cheesier than the first. Naturally, I opted for Vegas. Viva Las Vegas. At only $40 a pop, the Little White Chapel's legendary drive-thru wedding was ideal.

As our rented Subaru pulled up to the takeout-style window, I imagined shouting, "I'll have a small fries, a coke, and a McMarriage, please." How had I become the kind of gal who didn't even have the decency to stand up on her own wedding day?

* * *

With the INS being so disorganized and backlogged, it would be yet another year before I was appointed Green Card Interview -- Take Two. By then Husband Two was long gone. We broke up shortly after watching Addicted to Love, with Meg Ryan. Everything gelled during the scene where French Guy tells Mathew Broderick's character, "You can't choose who you love."

How dense had I been? Of course -- you can't choose who you love!! Love isn't rational. It's not about what the other person does for you. It's about how you feel about them.

* * *

Husband Two had served as a custom-made cocoon, which I'd used to transform into the electric blue Morpho butterfly I'd always imagined myself to be. But if I wanted to flutter around in the States, I needed a spouse. I didn't even know where he lived anymore. All I had was a P.O. Box number. By most people's definition -- ours was now officially a "sham wedding."

INS investigators look into about 2,000 marriages a year. Officials cannot state how many are fake, but fraud can bring up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Deportation is always involved and you spend the rest of your life referring to America as Never Never Land. My case was especially dubious because I'd already been married before.

* * *

So I tracked Husband Number Two down. We met at a Chinese restaurant in West Hollywood. As suspected, he wanted nothing more to do with me. I'd broken his heart; deflated his dreams. I was to him what Husband One had been to me.

"We're going to have to be intimate if you want me to pull this off. I have to connect with those feelings or else they'll sense how cold I am toward you," he said nonchalantly as he smooshed a grain of rice with his index finger.

I gagged on my Peking dumpling.

"Let me get this straight. You are asking me to prostitute myself? What kind of human being do you want to be?" I blurted. "I had no idea you could stoop this low. You made a promise. This is about being a man of your word. You know Husband Two, I'll go back to Canada if I have to. Enjoy your Mu Shu."

* * *

A week before Showtime he somehow changed his mind. But now we had to win the INS's demented version of the Newlywed Game. There was no telling what they would ask, all in hopes of determining whether we had a "shared life." Fortunately, I had spent the entire relationship collecting documents: joint bank accounts and tax returns; a rental agreement with both our names on it. And since Husband Two was a photographer, I had tons of snaps. The only thing we'd forgotten were rings, which we picked up at Venice Beach for $15 each.

* * *

"Raise your right hand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" the officer declared.

"I do," I lied.

"Have you been married before?"


"Any kids?"


"What do you do Husband Two?"

"I am a photographer," he replied.

"And do you reside together seven days a week?"

"Yes," he whispered.

"Okay. Where were you born Miss?"


"I see here that you're of Egyptian descent. Are you a member of any terrorist associations?"

The interview had unfolded post 9/11. Who knew that the tragedy would take the heat off my first marriage and actually help me? But what kind of question was this? Yeah officer, and if you fuck with me and don't give me my Green Card you're gong to have to say hello to my turban-wearing friends.

"No sir. I've never been to Egypt. I am not even Muslim," I quietly replied.

"Okay. You get me a certified copy of your marriage certificate and I will stamp your passport."

"Um, do you wanna see any pictures?"

"No, it's okay. I believe you. Just bring me that certified copy."

I wish it could be more dramatic for the purposes of my story, but the interview was over in seven minutes.

* * *

Today, I own a certificate of permanent residency that allows me the luxury of roaming wildly across the land of the free. But to gain freedom, I had to lose my faith in lasting love. As far as being a two-time divorcee at 31 -- I don't care. I've never really been married. A bible oath, or a State's permission, is not what forges matrimony. Marriage is a sacred union between two souls; it's a vow that has to be continually renewed and respected. So when I do get another go, I intend to rise in love rather than hopelessly fall in. Who knows, perhaps the third time is a charm.

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